A Roller Coaster to Weight Loss and New Year Goals

I met Steve and Meagan through my husband. We formed a friendship and even attended their wedding in 2013 when my husband and I started dating. Meagan looked gorgeous in her white dress but she had been fighting a losing battle with her weight for a long time. After her and Steve got married, she expressed interest in having children. Time after time, they had miscarriage after miscarriage. I didn’t know from seeing Meagan just how serious the situation was and how consistently disappointed she always felt with herself and her weight loss situation. I am proud that she was comfortable enough to share her incredible journey with me and here for all of you. Meagan hopes that some will relate to her struggle and it will help others with similar issues know they are not alone on their personal roller coaster ride.

Meagan's Weight Loss Story

Throughout middle school and into high school, I have been overweight. I never liked how I looked in photos but around senior year of high school, I met my husband Steven. Since we were so young when we first started dating, and my parents were very traditional, they wouldn't allow Steven and I to be alone in their house. When we wanted to hang out together, we would take long walks around the SUNY Albany campus. For the first few months we dated, we got to know each other while we walked from place to place. I noticed I started feeling better, even healthy, and I was starting to lose some weight. I was at a good weight and pant size for my height. As soon as I went away to college, everything started to go downhill. During my first year away, I suffered from fainting spells and ended up gaining a lot of weight really fast. In addition, SARS was going around the campus and I ended up in quarantine lockdown for several days. By that time, my health had declined so much while I was at school that I decided to move back to my home town near Albany, NY. I started commuting to a college in Glens Falls at night and working full time during the day to pay for general expenses and school, but I was still having fainting spells. The doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong. They continued to mention I should lose weight because it most likely had a large role in why I continued to pass out. I pushed myself several times to get into shape. I wasn’t necessarily eating unhealthy foods, but I decided to see a nutritionist to help me make better food choices. I also made efforts to go to the gym and I started taking weight loss medication. For a while, I was successfully losing pounds. I was more confident that I had started down the right path.

When my husband Steven proposed to me in November 2011, I was so excited! We started the planning process for a 2013 wedding so we had some time to save and pay for all the expenses. As I became really overwhelmed and stressed through the planning process, I watched as the weight increased on the scale again and again. I gained all of the weight back that I had tried so hard to lose and more, by the time our wedding day arrived. In 2013 at our wedding, I was at my highest weight of 398 lbs. I had frequent migraines. I was unhappy. I didn't feel healthy and I was really discouraged with myself and the way I looked.

Doctors recommended that I cut out soda and aspartame to stop the migraines and again, told me to lose weight. In 2014 I had a miscarriage. Steven and I were heartbroken. Even though we had not planned this particular pregnancy, we were excited about the prospect of starting a family. After several other miscarriages, we visited a doctor to find out what was going wrong. The doctor mentioned that my weight was a big factor for the cause of the miscarriages. I couldn't believe I was the reason we couldn’t have children. I was crushed, frustrated and completely beside myself. I had tried so hard and attempted every diet and plan I could think of, but my weight was still very high.

In 2016, I was fed up. I was more committed than ever to starting over. My goal was not only to maintain a healthy weight, but also to have a successful pregnancy and birth of a healthy baby. I focused on my diet and continued to avoid soda and aspartame. I started going to the gym and took weight loss medication. My sister-in-law's wedding provided the additional motivation I needed to push myself to lose more weight so I could look nice in family photos. By the time the wedding came, I had done a decent job with my weight loss and I managed to stay at 260 lbs until Super Bowl Sunday of 2019. I hadn't drunk a lot of water that day and I noticed my feet looked particularly swollen. Thinking it was just dehydration, I drank a few glasses of water. A day later, I noticed my hands were swollen and my wedding ring felt constrained on my finger. The next day, my feet were so swollen I couldn't comfortably fit into my shoes unless I loosened them. I saw my doctor that week and found I had gained 20 lbs over a week's time!!! The doctors prescribed water pills in order to reduce the swelling. I was only eating chicken and vegetables as recommended, and I was trying to work out even though the pain from the swelling made it almost impossible. At the end of the second week, I passed out while at work. I was sent to the hospital with severe edema. I saw a cardiologist who gave me a shot of bumax which is supposed to help your body shed water. They sent me home some time after my shot, just to return a few weeks later to the hospital with a kidney stone. Within two weeks time, I gained 40 lbs and ended up right back at my 2013 wedding weight of 398 lbs. I felt utterly defeated. My thoughts went to dark places and I wanted to give up on everything, even life itself. I went through so much just to end up back where I was 6 years ago. Nothing I was doing worked.

My last option offered by doctors was bypass surgery. I hadn't really considered this option because it really scared me and I had always felt it was taking the easy way out to lose weight. After I did some of my own research and learned more about the surgery, I didn't feel as scared. Somehow, it felt comforting to know that I'd still be in control and that surgery was only the first step to building a healthier life. I learned that there's a stable support system to help bypass surgery patients cope and change their eating habits. It felt comforting to know that there were others like me who had gone through a lot of ups and downs and that we would all be helping each other. After weighing the options and qualifying as a candidate for the surgery, I decided to go for it. I followed a doctor recommended diet and meal plan from July 2019 to March of 2020, and lost 38 lbs before having the surgery.

It has been almost a year after the bypass surgery and I feel amazing! I am proud of what I have accomplished thus far, and I plan to continue this journey. I don’t even mind having my photo taken now. I actually embraced the idea of having photos of myself and felt excited about having a Christmas card and couple's session this December to celebrate how I feel and be happy about all I've accomplished thus far. I have already met my personal weight goal but I aim to lose a little more and build more muscle. I hope my story gives others hope in dark times and helps others to consider healthy choices in order to meet their weight loss goals. I encourage others to consider all the options available and to do your research.

Bypass surgery was only the first step to getting my weight under control. It forced me to slow down and eat smaller meal portions. Doctors and the support group made me really think about what kinds of food I put into my body. I learned that eating more protein enriched foods fills me up rather than choosing to eat junk food with empty calories. It is definitely a lifestyle change that is not meant for everyone, but for me, it made me feel better than I ever did and I am smarter with my choices.

I want to thank my husband for all his support through all of the ups and downs of this journey. I want to thank my family for their continued help as well. Last, I want to thank Redesignwithme for these amazing photos of Steve and I where I feel proud to showcase the new and improved me!

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